A Beginners Guide to Oshikwanyama

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^African Languages

Hai ti !


If you want to learn Oshikwanyama
But you find that it makes you ehama
Don't give up so diva!
With this book, you will shiiva
Your lips will move smooth like Rama.

Congratulations! You have, in your hands, the product of two years of love, sweat, tears, and copious amounts of coffee. We wrote this language guide while serving in Owambo as volunteer teachers. Our reasons were partly self-serving – writing about the language helped us to understand it better ourselves – but we hope it will be of use to anyone else who wants to embark on the adventure of learning Oshikwanyama. It’s a wonderful journey, and we’re glad to join you on the road. But now, down to business. As someone immersed in a new culture, possibly for the first time, your linguistic needs are twofold. First, you need to learn how to function. This book tackles this objective by presenting a series of content-oriented chapters that will familiarize you with the vocabulary and phrases of daily life.

The second need is to understand the structure of the language so that you can build your own statements and truly communicate. To this end, a series of Grammar Corner sections are interwoven through the chapters. Because we wanted to provide a reasonably complete grammar reference, you may find that the grammar sections advance at a faster pace than the corresponding vocabulary lessons. If you don’t understand them the first time around, you can always come back to them later.

This book began as a revision of a training manual for Peace Corps volunteers, but its scope has broadened over time. It should be useful for anyone trying to learn Oshikwanyama, but is most appropriate for people who go to stay among Oshikwanyama speakers in Owambo.

You can access this book in its entirety over the Internet at http://wikieducator.org/Oshikwanyama. The web site also has a glossary of words appearing in the book, as well as an answer key to the exercises.

Search for Oshikwanyama on Wikipedia.


We would like to extend our thanks, in no particular order, to: Aaron Cooper, for the Oshindonga proverbs, compiled by his English class at Elombe JSS and translated to Oshikwanyama by Meme Feni Haipinge and Tate Julius Hamunyela (a few proverbs were taken from Paavo Hasheela's excellent book Omishe di dule eyovi (Gamsberg-Macmillan, 1993); Laura Veuve, who contributed the appendix, Efe nge!; Linda Shilongo for supporting this project and proofreading numerous drafts; SchoolNet Namibia for hosting the online version; and, most of all, the families and communities that put up with us and put us up for two years: Tate Kakololo Itope in Oshitayi, Meme Sylvia Uahengo in Onanghulo, and Tatekulu Ephraim Angula in Olukonda.


"A Beginners Guide to Oshikwanyama" by Thera Crane, Karl Lindgren-Streicher, Andy Wingo. SchoolNet Namibia 2004. WikiEducator 2010 (http://wikieducator.org/Oshikwanyama).